These were facts, however, of which Wa-wa-nosh, or Onoah, was as ignorant as if he were an English or French minister of state, and had got his notions of the country from English or French travellers, who wished for what they predicted. He had heard of the towns and population of the republic; but one gets a very imperfect notion of any fact of this sort by report, unless previous experience has prepared the mind to make the necessary comparisons, and fitted it to receive the images intended to be conveyed. No wonder, then, that Peter fell into a mistake common to those who had so many better opportunities of forming just opinions, and of arriving at truths that were sufficiently obvious to all who did not wilfully shut their eyes to their existence.
Hearest thou voices on the shore
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract’s roar?
Bear, through sorrow, wrong, and
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.
From all that has been stated, the reader will, probably, be prepared to learn that Boden did not succeed in his effort to persuade Gershom, and the other Christians, to accompany him on his voyage round by Lake Huron. Corporal Flint was obdurate, and Parson Amen confiding. As for Gershom, he did not like the thought of retracing his steps so soon, and the females were obliged to remain with the husband and brother.
“You had better get out of the river while all the canoes are on this side,” said Margery, as she and le Bourdon walked toward the boats in company, the council having ended, and everything beginning to assume the appearance of action. “Remember you will be quite alone, and have a long, long road to travel!”
“I do remember all this, Margery, and see the necessity for all of us getting back to the settlements as fast as we can. I don’t half like this Peter; his name is a bad one in the garrisons, and it makes me miserable to think that you may be in his power.”
“The missionary and the corporal, as well as my brother, seem willing to trust him—what can two females do, when their male protector has made up his mind in such a matter?”
“One who would very gladly be your protector, pretty Margery, has not made up his mind to the prudence of trusting Peter at all. Put yourself under my care, and my life shall be lost, or I will carry you safe to your friends in Detroit.”
This might be deemed tolerably explicit; yet was it not sufficiently so to satisfy female scruples, or female rights. Margery blushed, and she looked down, while she did not look absolutely displeased. But her answer was given firmly, and with a promptitude that showed she was quite in earnest.
“I cannot quit Dorothy, placed as she is—and it is my duty to die with brother,” she said.
“Have you thought enough of this, Margery? may not reflection change your mind?”